The Air Force will hasten the upgrade of its F-15C and F-15E fighters with active electronically scanned array radars by moving more of the radar units into its Fiscal 2012 budget plan, service officials told the Daily Report Thursday. Last week, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the F-15C fleet radar upgrade would be completed a year earlier and the F-15E fleet eight years earlier than planned in the Fiscal 2011 budget. Extras funds made available when the Air Force identified $34 billion in overhead reductions are making that acceleration possible. The Fiscal 2011 budget called for installation of AESAs on 76 F-15Cs by Fiscal 2016, with the remaining 14 by Fiscal 2019.With the acceleration, installation of all 90 will now occur by Fiscal 2018, said service officials. As for the F-15Es, the Fiscal 2011 budget called for 61 aircraft to get AESAs by Fiscal 2016. Now, 88 will get them by that year, putting the Strike Eagle fleet on track to be fully equipped with AESAs in Fiscal 2022, “eight years earlier than programmed” at this time last year, they stated.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.